Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Spotted Tongue (aka Is she really part Chow?)

One of the first things I noticed about Dahlia when I met her was her tongue.  It's hard to miss the fact that her tongue is not solid pink.  It is, in fact, speckled with large blue marks.


The spots on the tongue has led many who have met her or seen her pictures to say "She must be part Chow."  So is she really?

The site Chow Chow Welfare says on their page "The Truth About Those Black Tongues":

We...know that blue-black spots on tongues are very common in dogs - more than 30 pure breeds are known  to have members with spotted tongues.

Spots on tongues are simply deposits of extra pigment, like birthmarks and freckles on people.  Dogs often have spots of dark pigment on their skin, too, hiding under their coats.  These spots can be large or small, many or few.

So there's the truth.  Is your dog part Chow because he/she has tongue spots?  Not necessarily.  Many purebred dogs have spots on their tongues, including various retrievers and shepherds.  In fact, they're so common in dogs like Golden retrievers, that they are not considered a fault in conformation events.

So what is Dahlia, exactly?  That's anyone's guess, though we've seen some pretty strong indicators that she has some sort of herding breed in her ancestry, likely Border Collie though she could have Australian Shepherd as well as or instead of collie.  We've also guessed, from personality, coat, and looks, that she is part retriever, with Golden Retriever being our current #1 educated guess.


  1. Some things to look for that may indicate that your dog is deaf, suffering from hearing loss, or experiencing ear problems that have the potential to lead to hearing loss include: change in obedience or lack of attentiveness; excessive barking; unresponsiveness to sounds; head shaking; itchy and/or painful ears; a smelly discharge from the ears; difficulty being woken up; head tilts toward the side of the affected ear.

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  2. She looks so much like our old golden/lab mix; a beautiful dog.

  3. I would suspect she's a lot smaller than a Golden/Lab mix. She only weighs about 50 pounds. Over the past couple years we've seen more and more of her personality come out and we're pretty sure she's part Border Collie and part Golden Retriever. Her looks and personality (including her herding instincts which are definitely there!) seem to point in that direction.